Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

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trippout83
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Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by trippout83 »

Hi All,

I own a number of lower end/older kayaks and have been camping and kayaking wiht the family for years. Recently back into frequent fishing (jetty and surf) now that my kids are getting up in age and I have free time. Been wanting to get into kayak fishing primarily in the shallows in the Bay areas around Corpus and PI and perhaps some lake fishing as well. I live in San Antonio A buddy of mine picked up a Vibe SeaGhost and while I think its a good kayak, it doesn't seem to be exactly what I want.

I've been threatening to buy something for a couple years now but I'm struggling with all the options. I feel like I have narrowed down what I am looking for to two yaks but given my limited experience, im looking for suggestions from those of you who have experience on the water. I want something that will be stable on the water and offer plenty of deck space for gear and standing for sight fishing. I'm not a fan of the internal storage areas, would prefer something with more deck space and flexibility to upgrade drive system beyond just paddling.

I really like the Vanhunks Elite Pro Angler but I just don't see many people with those boats. Does anyone here have any experience with this model out on the bay or lakes? Any thoughts based on what you have seen?

The Old Town Sportsman line seems to come highly recommended but to considering that I may want drive options those boats get expensive.

Thanks in advance!
Tripp
SWFinatic
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by SWFinatic »

If I’m understanding you correctly you are looking at paddle kayaks? If so you might look into the Bonafide line of kayaks. Most all of their kayaks paddle fairly well and are stable. If stability isn’t a big concern look at Cresent kayaks. Both of these kayak lines have models that will float shallow and have open decks.

There’s a bunch of options. I’m not a fan of most of the “more economical” line. There’s a reason or reasons they are priced so low. Performance is often not nearly as good as some of the kayaks I mentioned.
trippout83
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by trippout83 »

Definitely looking for something with flexibility in drive options. I paddle now but I want something that I can pedal or even have electric drive if I need. I can see a good reason to have hands-free propulsion when having a rod in hand. I'm all about "buy once, cry once" but $4-6k for a kayak seems excessive to me. Seems like I'd be paying for the brand as much as the boat itself.

I'd say stability is a top concern. I can't sit for long periods because I have no padding at all on my bottom side (lol), so will be looking to alternate sitting and standing on regular intervals.

I read that Bonafide was purchased and the quality of those boats just isn't what it was. Agree there are a bunch of options, and too many variations in my opinion. Just makes it hard to choose when I'm trying to be as cost effective as possible.
SWFinatic
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by SWFinatic »

Gotcha. Im not sure of a lot of options where you can buy the kayak and add a pedal drive later. Vibe Shearwater is one but judging by how many used ones less than a year old I’ve seen for sale that’s not a direction I would go. I’ve only heard feedback from one person I trust on that kayak and, well he sold it after 2 weeks lol. Maybe Vibe has made improvements on them since.

If you’re open to used there are a number of good options. Hobie Compass can be found under 2k used. There’s actually one for 1200 in the SA area but not sure of the condition of that one. Compass is a stable kayak with an open deck, that is still fairly light at least in terms of peddle kayaks which means it still can be paddled in the salt water flats, and most of the newer models have the ability to add a power pole without drilling which means you can motorize it later if desired. The Compass also has the rudder under the kayak so it won’t interfere with a motor on the back.

You mentioned Old Town which are also good options.
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Music Man
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by Music Man »

Last summer I picked up the Lightning Kayaks Nomad. It’s basically the older Outback hull. I got it when they were running their rollout special. Full price is $2200. Hull is very solid. I really like this boat.

They’ve saved some price point by removing the bow storage - that Hobie owners complained leaked - if that doesn’t bother you. The drive is OK - how it holds up, I’ll see - and the boat paddles acceptably for a wide hull. Very stable and easy to stand in. It paddles well when in shallow water. All of the Hobie drives will fit in case an upgrade is desired.

My other two yaks have a center console and I really like the open cockpit of boats like this and the Hobies. I tested the propeller drives on other yaks and found them to be noisy and get in the way when in shallow water.

A downside to these types of yaks is the weight.

If you like the open cockpit and want to save some money, the Tarpon 120 or 140 are great. These won’t convert to peddle, but are light and very fast.

Welcome to the addiction :lol:
DUKFVR
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by DUKFVR »

I'm in the same boat as the OP. I have a Crescent Lite Tackle & I love it for hunting. I can put my gear Etc in the hatch ,but want another kayak for fishing. I want the open deck too. Anyone paddled or used a Nucanoe Unlimited? Leaning that way, because & can add the pedal drive later if I want?
Good Luck to the OP on finding what will be good for you too!
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motoyak
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Post by motoyak »

People overlook Pelican kayaks due to an undeserved bad reputation. The pedal drive system is Hobies old design and is bulletproof. The hull is a great layout IMHO, very spacious, comfortable and stable. They paddle like the barge they are so pedal drive is needed.
I now have a Hobie Compass also but 9 times out of ten, I opt for the Pelican motor kayak because its just so easy to set up with lightweight lithium battery and ease of operation. The PWM control works flawlessly combined with foot steering and motor tilt release.
The motor drive is the cats meow for distance and fishing on windy days
The overall cost was $800 for Pelican Catch 120(new-no pedal drive), $50 #30 MK trolling motor, $200 lithium battery, and an additional $200 in PWM,cables, controls,etc.
I've built 7 motoyaks now for friends and they all have been delighted with how they work.
Youtube is your friend for ideas, some work, some are laughable how crude they are. If you have more money than ability or time, then break out the checkbook and go shopping but I highly recommend a motor drive system.
SWFinatic
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by SWFinatic »

DUKFVR wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 7:40 am Anyone paddled or used a Nucanoe Unlimited? Leaning that way, because & can add the pedal drive later if I want?
Good Luck to the OP on finding what will be good for you too!
They’re definitely not the best paddling fishing kayak. Stable, heavy and easy to add a motor. You might consider trying their peddle drive before you plan on getting one. I don’t have any experience with that peddle drive but I haven’t seen one good review on it. I’m sure there are people that like it but it’s nothing like Old Town or Natives pedal drive.
trippout83
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by trippout83 »

Thank you all for your input and guidance. I found the a sportsman 120 pdl for $2400 and snagged it at that price. I like the fact that there are a lot of folks owning and modding the old town kayaks and had a chance to look over one at my local sporting goods store. Getting a first hand look is what sold me on the boat.
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Neumie
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by Neumie »

trippout83 wrote: Mon May 27, 2024 6:20 pm Thank you all for your input and guidance. I found the a sportsman 120 pdl for $2400 and snagged it at that price. I like the fact that there are a lot of folks owning and modding the old town kayaks and had a chance to look over one at my local sporting goods store. Getting a first hand look is what sold me on the boat.
Congrats on a very nice kayak.
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motoyak
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by motoyak »

#116, break out the muscles :lol:
JayOnTheBay
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Re: Recommendations for first fishing kayak?

Post by JayOnTheBay »

I picked up a used Old Town Topwater 120 PDL about a week ago for $1700 that came with a lot of mounts and accessories already added. I took it out for its maiden voyage on Monday and the PDL drive makes for a much easier day. I spent 7.5 hours out on the bay and was able to really enjoy myself plus its super stable and I was able to stand up some.
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